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It’s OK to Talk to Animals (and Other Letters from Dad)

NathanTimmelAfter selling tens of copies of my first book, I had at least three people ask, “When is the next one coming out?”

Three years and two months later, boom: new book.

Here’s the back cover description:

First steps, first word, first time pooping in the bathtub… as a stand-up comedian, Nathan Timmel missed numerous milestones during the first year of his daughter’s life. Traveling from town to town, he spent his night slinging jokes while his daughter Hillary discovered the world around her.

As she turned one, Nathan vowed to be a part of her life even when far from home. Writing a letter a week, Nathan tells his toddler where he is and tries to give context to her world: why Daddy travels, why a baby brother or sister isn’t the end of the world, and the importance of dismantling the pharmacy section at Target.

It’s OK to Talk to Animals (and Other Letters from Dad) is a touching, funny, and introspective glimpse into a comedian-turned-father’s hopes for—and apologies to—his baby girl.

Read a sample letter.

Pre-order the Kindle Version.

Like the old fashioned feel of a paperback?

Buy one now; it’s already available.

MIKE BRODY’S TOP 5 COMEDY ALBUMS

BRODY_ForblogEveryone has a friend like Mike Brody.  He’s the buddy that manages to stay cool under pressure, despite a clumsy manner and instinctive sense of humor that keeps everyone around him in stitches.  They may not always be around when you need them most, but like all great humorist they’re always right on time.  Mike has spent his entire stand up career aiming to perfect the art of comedic timing, so when he lists his top 5 comedy albums it’s sure to have a few comics so good you could set a watch by them. So without further delay here’s Mike Brody with his Top 5 Comedy Albums Of All Time and remember, you’re on the clock. Go!

MITCH HEDBERG – “Strategic Grill Locations/Mitch All Together”

I started comedy in the early 2000s in Iowa, and I remember thinking that most of the comics that came through my home club were super antiquated and hacky.  So whenever I had a small one-nighter gig, you’d hear club/bar owners talking about how Hedberg had been there years before and bombed the hardest anybody has ever bombed.  But always, without exception, they’d say “But I knew he’d be famous!”  Sure you did!  All the dive-bar owners in Brainerd had the eye for talent!  That’s what I love about Mitch.  He did it his way until people couldn’t deny him anymore.  Before Hedberg, comedy had kind of lost it’s goofiness. It was a bit stale.”Is this all there is?” I thought.  It was pre-Youtube.  Then I saw Hedberg’s Comedy Central special and my mind was blown.  Yogurt jokes!  Koala bears!  WHAT?!  I must have played Strategic Grill Locations 100,000 times.  Then I actually got to be in the audience for the recording of Mitch All Together.  Play those two albums back to back…you can actually hear the difference between the effects of marijuana and cocaine when you do it.  I still get sad that he’s dead.  We need him.

 

BILL HICKS – “Sane Man”

Can I count this as an album?  It’s a VHS, but I think it’s up on Youtube.  This was my first exposure to Hicks.  People have copied and watered him down so much now that newer comics can’t grasp how different he was.  So many “edgy” comics have aped his style that if you watch it now, it seems kind of ordinary.  BUT THIS WAS 1989!  Think about what was happening comedically in 1989. There were geniuses, but there were also a lot of airplane peanuts. Now consider that Hicks was doing flag-burning jokes in front of mulletheads in Texas. He was ahead of his time and (for better or worse) changed the tone of comedy forever.  Plus, those weird psychedelic screens and pauses in the video tripped me out.

 

BILL BURR – “Let It Go”

Hey, he’s alive!  I was admittedly late to the game with Bill Burr.  Everybody kept raving about how funny he was and I just never got around to listening to him. Then one day I got the CD/DVD of Let It Go.  I was driving home from a road gig, so I put the CD on and loved it.  And yet I couldn’t figure out something about him.  He was hilarious, but how was he getting these people to like him so much?  The jokes were so wonderfully evil.  Then I got home and put the DVD in.  OH, I GET IT!  He smiles!  He’s charming!  He shrugs his shoulders!  Bill Burr is a master at being the winking asshole.  Not literally, of course.  That would be weird.  I mean that he’s the asshole that we all respect and want to be.  Also, his podcast is magnificent.  Bill Burr equally brings me joy and sadness.  Joy because he’s at the peak of his genius right now and sadness because GODDAMNIT I wish I was that good.  He gets my vote for best in the business right now.

 

MIKE BIRBIGLIA – “My Secret Public Journal”

Holy shit, I don’t know if there’s a better storyteller today than Mike Birbiglia. Joey Bag-o-Donuts, the story about the cancer benefit, the Roger Clemens story!  They’re all gold.  The dude’s a master at being so likeable.  He could tell a story about helping Jerry Sandusky break out of prison and he’d win us over.  We’d be like “Go! Go Mike! Set him free!”  Telling a great story isn’t about just droning on and then having a big punch line at the end.  It’s like kicking a ball up a hill.  You got to keep tapping it the whole way or else it’s going to roll backwards.  Birbiglia has that on lock-down.  His stories are hilarious from beginning to end, and he still manages to have the endings have a big payoff.  Really, I’m in awe of this guy.  And if you haven’t seen his movie “Sleepwalk With Me”, you need to yesterday.

 

JOE DEROSA – “The Depression Auction”

I don’t want to sound jaded, but after you do comedy awhile you kind of stop wanting to hear comedy every day.  It’s not that you don’t still love it, but it’s like The Matrix.  You see “the code”; you appreciate it, and even enjoy it.  But you don’t laugh out loud anymore.  At best, you think in your head “Oh wow, that’s really funny” with a stoneface. Joe Derosa’s “The Depression Auction” had me laughing my ass off.  I literally LOLed.  There’s just something about east coast comics.  They have a swagger that you have to be raised with.  The one about how he’s politically stupid but easily lead, the one about doing comedy at an Insane Clown Posse concert, the one about how nobody wants to go to your wedding: brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.  He’s a loser and a winner.  He’s a dick, but he’s vulnerable.  Aren’t we all?

MICHAEL PALASCAK’S TOP 5 COMEDY ALBUMS

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There are many typical characters in stand-up comedy.  The zanies, the self depreciating, the truth seekers and the truth tellers.   Michael Palascak sits amongst a dying breed of  character, that of the good guy.  Innocent in his faults with a glass is half full attitude,  Michael’s nature on stage is always likable if not lovable.  In this installment of our comedians on comedians segment, where comics offer us their “Top 5 Comedy Albums Of All Time”, we find out where the good guys go for good comedy.   Mike, give us the good stuff:

5. Tommy Johnagin – Stand-up Comedy 2.

He kills it.  It’s really funny, original.  I love the story about his sister being lost.  Tommy is so good at having a premise and then having many funny things to say about the premise.

4. Mitch Hedburg – Strategic Grill Locations

His jokes are so funny, random, and true to himself that it just really appealed to me. He was the inspirational genius of my generation of comics.  The Pringles joke and the tennis joke as well as many others are memorable on this album.

3. Jerry Seinfeld.   I’m Telling You For The Last Time

I love his confidence.  I love his story about trick-or-treating.  And it’s clean.  I listened to it with my dad on the way to college and it was so cool sharing that with him.  I think that’s one of the reasons I’m pretty clean.  I want families to be able to share moments by listening to my stand-up.

2. Louis C.K. – Chewed Up

This had a similar impact that my #1 did.  It re-inspired me to think about stand-up differently.  What hit me the first time I listened was how natural Louis was with his jokes and how much fun he was having.  I loved the Cinnabon joke and the observation about masturbation was beautiful.

1. Mitch Hedburg – Mitch All Together

I remember being home from college for the summer and sitting in my room and listening to this.  There was like a white C.D. player my mom had that I listened to it on.  I had bunk beds.  It was hot because it was upstairs and the air conditioning didn’t work that well up there.  I put it on to listen to while I cleaned out my closet and I don’t think I cleaned out anything.  I just laughed so hard.  That was about the time that I started doing stand-up.

Don’t forget to heck out Michael Palasack’s latest stand-up comedy CD “Job Opening” available on iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp, and all major streaming services.

VINCE CARONE’S TOP 5 COMEDY ALBUMS OF ALL TIME

If you are unfamiliar with Vince Carone’s style of comedy lets describe him as a simple man, with simple ideas, to keep the rest of us crazy bastards from ruining this party called life.  

Outspoken, brash, and unapologetic Vince isn’t afraid to speak his mind even if it might offend a few listeners. This begs the question what does Vince put into his brain to inspire such controversial work. Here at Rooftop we answer all the tough questions, so here is Vince Carone with his top 5 comedy albums of all time.  The floor is all yours Vince:

 

 

Doug Stanhope – Beer Hall Putsch

 

Doug Stanhope holds the title when it comes to poignant, relentless, non-apologetic, in-your-face humor. His ability to thrash through topics with his blunt opinions is second-to-none. One of my favorite things in regards to his comedy is the sheer quantity of it. Not only do I thoroughly appreciate his stand-up, I also greatly appreciate the fact that he continues to deliver fresh material every year or every other year. Beer Hall Putsch is his latest comedic assault that encompasses bits that other comics wouldn’t go near. Listen to his tale of truth regarding his mom’s suicide and then tell me that you’re afraid to try one of the new bits that you thought of. This is one-hour of non-stop genius writing that only Stanhope could pull off. This album is what stand-up should be!

 

Richard Jeni – Greatest Bits

 

Richad Jeni is a rare find in the comedy world. He is a comedian that every comic knows, but yet, you ask the average person who he is and unfortunately you’re left going “Jim Carrey’s friend in the movie The Mask”. For a man who had 4 TV specials between Showtime and HBO, he never became the household name that he deserved to be. Richard Jeni had natural comedic timing and knew how to milk a bit for everything it was worth. In his Greatest Bits CD you get to experience Richard Jeni delivering all of the fan favorites. This CD is special for me as I remember listening to this with my family growing up and just laughing together – generations spanning from me as a kid, to my parents, to my grandparents – we all laughed and then really got a treat when we got to see him live in 2003.

 

Bill Burr – Let It Go

 

Right out of the gate on this CD Bill Burr goes into a rant on why he’s “pro swine-flu” and the laughs just don’t stop. I’ve been a ranting comedian for years and then I watched Bill Burr and it made me wonder why I even try. As comedians we like to hold our pride in high regard and don’t always give credit where credit is due – but I want to go on record saying that every time that I heard Bill Burr go into his bit about “Being a Mother”, I am nothing but jealous that I didn’t think of it or anything like it. To be able to take a topic like that and beat it down to the point of saying (I’m paraphrasing) “women give being a mother too much credit” and have the ladies in the audience cracking up, takes an extreme talent…and that’s what Bill Burr is, an extreme talent.

 

Dennis Miller – Black & White

 

Ok, so I know this isn’t on a CD – but I did own it on VHS which ought to count. This is my absolute favorite material that Dennis Miller has come out with. It took me a long time when I was younger to catch on to Dennis’ cadence with his delivery, but once I got it, I got it big time. Anytime that I quote Dennis Miller, I find myself defaulting to his opening bit here regarding impressionists that always paint Jack Nicholson into mundane situations: “can you imagine if Jack Nicholson were a produce clerk at a grocery store?” ‘No, f*ck you, YOU I can imagine as a produce clerk at a grocery store, now let’s not take the world’s highest paid actor and have him spritzing a bag of turnips for $2.95 an hour’. Dennis has been dubbed “The King of Pop…Culture” and this release is proof on why. I watch this knowing Dennis was only a few years older than I am now when he recorded it and he was light years ahead of me as a comedian.

 

George Carlin – It’s Bad For Ya

 

George Carlin is my favorite comedian of all time (with Doug Stanhope in at a close second) and I really enjoyed this final album of his. I run into Carlin fans that tell me how they loved his early stuff but he got too angry for them as time went on. I ended up on the opposite end here; the more angry and cynical that Carlin got, the more I liked him. This CD is a 70-year old comedian exploring the thought process that only somebody with that much life experience could produce. I love listening to the bit about questioning societal norms such as: taking off your hat. The casual listener hears that and thinks that Carlin is bitching about a hat…but if you listen, it’s just about removing the “control” in this country and not conforming to stuff that doesn’t make sense just because people before you and around you accept it. Carlin is a comedic prophet (a term I’m sure he’d hate), he really teaches as much as he entertains. Carlin’s comedic method is what got me into comedy, what has kept me in comedy, and what I will always strive for. Question everything, accept nothing, and remember “It’s all bad for ya”.

 

Have fun and enjoy the ride!

Alvin Williams Interview

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Rooftop has yet another hilarious release for all your giggling needs: Alvin Williams, I Hope You’re Happy.

Rooftopper Nathan Timmel talked to him about the disc.

Read on!

NT: Where did you record your disc, and why did you choose that location? Is it a special venue for you?

AW: I recorded the album at Tacoma Comedy Club. It’s a phenomenal club and the audiences aren’t uptight or afraid to laugh about subjects that tend to be controversial in some regions. Plus it’s a huge venue so you can really feel the laughs reverberate when you’re onstage! There is something special about the city of Tacoma in general. Seattle gets all the love and sometimes people who live there tend to rag on Tacoma. Not sure why, I mean you all share the same airport, be cordial. It’s a blue-collar town that doesn’t always get the respect it deserves and that’s something I believe most of us can relate to in this industry, which in my opinion is why I’ve always had some of my best shows there because I feel like I connect with them really well.

NT: Do you prefer traditional comedy clubs, theaters, or, do you have a favorite type of venue that doesn’t include either of those?

AW: I’m a comedy club guy. If you look at my tour schedule that’s pretty much all you’ll see on there at any given time. I’m a natural homebody so to speak, so I like being settled in one location for an extended period, and by extended I mean a week. I really like gradually easing into a new setting, and getting to know the area where I’m performing. The sites, the people, restaurants and movie theaters. It keeps me on my toes and I will never be complacent, because just when you get comfortable it’s time to pick up and leave for another city to do it all over again! I’m at a point now where none of the areas I perform are new to me anymore, so I’m really comfortable in most places and I feel like that reflects in my shows.

NT: Was it a one-shot take, or is it a series of shows edited together?

AW: This album was recorded over a 2 day stretch of shows.

NT: You use personal segues to talk about pop culture, and vice versa. Overall, would you describe your comedy as personal, observational, a mix of each…

AW: Truthfully? I never know how to answer that one. Comedy comes from everywhere. When you talk about pop culture, often times you can make it personal, because they’re just people like you and I. But when you’re talking about something personal in your life, isn’t it still observational? I can’t really describe myself too well. I just see myself as someone who can relate to damn near anybody on some level. I know I’m funny, I just have to convince you within the first two minutes and we’ll be good!…So I guess “a mix” to answer your question?

NT: Do you feel you’re more a storyteller or setup and punchline kinda guy?

AW: I’m a storyteller by nature. You can probably tell because every question you ask me could have been answered in about a third of the amount of words I use, but I’m working on that I promise! I steer clear of comedy competitions because the comics with the shorter jokes do better, and I’ve learned I’m not as funny when I have to rush. I’ve found my groove in long form jokes. I figure it gives the audience more chances to laugh that way!

NT: You cut your teeth in Chicago—how do you feel the comedy scene is there?

AW: What a lot of people don’t know about me is that I truly cut my teeth in the Pacific Northwest. Mainly Idaho & Washington. I’m from Chicago but when I started doing stand-up I was living in Boise, ID. I have since developed a strong performing relationship with my hometown and now I can say with full confidence that it is a great scene. I’ve been welcomed with open arms and given the same treatment as someone who never left the city. Which is something you don’t hear about in other big cities. I Love performing back home!

NT: Any Los Angeles or New York aspirations in the future?

AW: No. I’m from a big city and I love performing in big cities, but I live a super quiet life in Denver and I’m happy! I’ll take that over fame any day…Why’d you ask, did an agent ask about me???

NT: One thing I have in common with you: we both moved often as children. I take it comedy was a coping mechanism for you? Describe how you feel having moved often shaped you as a person, and comedian.

AW: Moving was always a positive thing for me. I got used to it after a while and I learned to love it. Every place was an opportunity to meet new people, and that’s the attitude I take when I’m on the road. I love traveling and I love meeting new people. Now if you consider money a void, then yes I am definitely filling a void. I wish I could fill it more! Otherwise I do comedy for two reasons: One, I have the ability to make people forget about their problems, even if it’s only for a little while. Two, I don’t have a boss or an alarm clock. When one of those changes I’ll probably reconsider this whole thing. But until then, I’m still enjoying the trip!

 

Buy I Hope You’re Happy in the Rooftop Shop.

Alvin Williams Top 5 Comedy Albums Of All Time

Alvin_Williams_forblog Alvin Williams looks to deliver some cheer to the world with his new stand-up comedy album I Hope You’re Happy.  Alvin is constantly traveling to entertain audiences in comedy clubs across the country, and sometimes things can get a little stressful for him out on the road.  So we asked him to list the top 5 comedy albums that bring a little joy into his life when things on the road get tough, and he happily obliged.  So here is Alvin Williams with his top 5 comedy albums.

 

Eddie Murphy – Comedian

Eddie Murphy is my all-time favorite comic.  I wish he would have done more specials but considering his jokes are still hilarious 30 years later, I don’t blame him. My dad used to take me on a lot of road trips as a kid, and he would always buy tapes from the clearance section of video stores.  I found this one, he bought it, and the rest is history.  Still one of the most memorable road trips I ever had.  We listened to the album 3 times!  Everything that Eddie talked about I could relate to, and his impressions were so perfect!  I still can’t look at Mr. T, Ricky Ricardo or Ralph Kramden without thinking of this album.  A must-have even now!

George Carlin – Napalm & Silly Putty

First and Foremost, I think all of George Carlin’s albums could have been my Top 5.  To me he is the best comedic writer the world has ever produced.  He can do anything with any subject and any audience.  I chose this album because it was the first time I had heard a comedy album without an audience.  I’ve always wanted to do one of these myself, but I would probably need to put out 50 years of genius first before people would buy it, soooo….I’ll wait.  Carlin’s genius is on full display in this album, and I appreciate it even more because it’s like he’s going over the written jokes in a notebook before he has to convert them to an audience-friendly presentation.  That’s the way we all really want to present the joke, in its purest form.  Every time I hear it I feel smarter!

Jerry Seinfeld – I’m Telling You For The Last Time

I love Seinfeld’s work, because it’s laugh out loud funny, but also clean.  When I think of the perfect set, this one comes to mind.  I heard it on audio first before I saw this performance on HBO.  I was in high school when I first heard this and it was the first time I heard a comic and went “That’s EXACTLY what I was thinking!  I thought it was just ME.”  He’s the gold standard in mainstream comedy that appeals to everyone and this album is a testament to his hard work.  Plus I love the concept of “retiring” material and never using it again.  I’ve tried to retire material but sometimes I’m on the road and a joke is WAY too perfect not to use.  Kudos Jerry, hope you do another one soon!

 Chris Rock – Roll With The New

Chris Rock is the guy I tried to model myself after:  Be funny AND have something important to say.  His social commentary is so spot on it just blows my mind how somebody can be that funny and that socially relevant all at the same time!  I’ve watched all of Chris Rock’s specials but this is the only album I owned.  I actually bought it because of the Champagne Song.  SO FUNNY.  Watch the video on your lunch break and it will be stuck in your head the rest of the day!  Also, this album has the best bit to end all bits:  Not sure where this publication is being sent, so for the sake of not being censored, I’ll just say it’s the bit where he differentiates between the various types of black people. :)

Dane Cook – Retaliation

Dane Cook in my opinion was a victim of his own whirlwind success.  He’s viewed now as if he was this all-energy but no substance comic, and that’s the furthest thing from the truth.  I think over time it just became cool to not like Dane Cook.  But I was always a Dane Cook fan and I cannot deny the influence this album had on me.  My college roommate had this playing in his car and it reminded me of when I first heard the Eddie Murphy Comedian album.  Playing the tracks over and over again.  This is the album that made me want to do stand-up.  Not just a fantasy of being a comic, but actually getting on a stage and DOING it.  This album was perfect.  PERFECT.  I still tell stories “Tarantino Style” in my everyday life because of this album.  It’s just BETTER that way!  I hope that 20 years from now people won’t be jealous of Dane’s rapid success and appreciate the body of work he has put forth.  Anyway, if you’re just a Dane-hater but you’ve never heard him, this is truly worth a listen!

Trey Galyon’s Top 5 Comedy Albums of All Time

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Trey Galyon has just released his comedy album “The Moronic” here at Rooftop Comedy Productions. Trey’s stand-up chronicles his life in a very observational though objecting way. There’s a lot wrong with the world and Trey will speak on it with clarity and focus, weeding out the worst of what he sees and giving it hit after hit, punchline after punchline. He’s a man with high standards and his list of his Top 5 Comedy albums of all time makes a whole lot of scents. Pass us the good stuff Trey!

Ok, Here are my top 5 comedy albums in no particular order…

Dave Attell – Skanks for the Memories
Love this album! Attell is so quick and funny. This was one of the first albums I bought after I started doing comedy and I still listen to it regularly. Who hasn’t mumbled ‘yeah, but them titties ain’t retarded’ about a bazillion times?!! Go see him live! So much fun watching him work

Patrice O’Neal – Mr. P
Patrice’s only CD and it is retarded good. Patrice is one of those guys I watch and say, ‘yeah! That’s what I’m trying to do with my comedy’. He’s so honest and has an incredible way of explaining things. The first 20 minutes of this CD are non-stop laughs and ‘White Women are Pleasant’ has made me laugh out loud on the subway about 3 dozen times. Unfortunately you can’t go see him live, so get ahold of everything of his you can. The Comedy Central special ‘Elephant in the Room’ is just as good!

Bill Burr – Why Do I Do This?
Bill Burr is one of my favorite guys out there right now. Everybody loves him for the Philly rant which is really awesome, but his actual standup is even better. That opening ‘Pedophiles’ bit will drag you right into his world! Fun all the way thru, and then closing it with the ‘Muffins’ bit is perfect. Check him out live also!

Bill Hicks – Dangerous
I started comedy in Austin, TX and when you start comedy in Texas you learn about Bill Hicks VERY QUICKLY. He was one of a kind. You can feel the honesty and passion in his voice. One amazing thing is that all of his political material, even though it was written 20 years ago, is still relevant today. Rant in E Minor and Arizona Bay are great to. I picked Dangerous because it’s his first album and a nice intro into the world of Bill Hicks

Bill Cosby – Why is there Air?
Cosby is my favorite of all time! ‘Himself’ changed my life! Everybody has a favorite Cosby album and everybody is right. I picked ‘Why is there Air?’ because my grandparents had that album and it brings back a lot of great memories. Go see him if you get a chance! You can watch him do 2 hours and it feels like 30 minutes and you’ll want more when he’s done. He’s the master!

There you go. Those are my favorite comedy albums right now…

Buy my album, or buy one of these!!!
And go see some live comedy!!!
It’ll change your life, man!

Thanks Rooftop Comedy!!

Matt Knudsen’s Top 5 Comedy Albums of All Time

In celebration of Matt Knudsen’s latest album release American we decided to dig deep into the comedic actor/stand-up comedian’s brain, to find out what triggers his funny eardrums.  Check out Matt Knudsen’s list of his favorite comedians currently making the rounds, and his top 5 comedy albums of all time. Take it away, Matt…

Before I get to my 5 favorite albums of all time (Household names at this point), it’s worth mentioning some of my favorite people that are currently out there killing it. For your enjoyment and in no particular order, check out:

Kyle Kinane, Myq Kaplan, Zach Sherwin, Henry Phillips, Rory Scovel, Sean Patton, T.J. Miller, Kumail Nanjiani, Nate Bargatze, Jarrod Harris, Rawle Lewis, Jackie Kashian, Eddie Pepitone, Howard Kremer, Reggie Watts, Matt Braunger, Andy Wood, Beth Stelling, Kate Berlant, Paul Danke, Cornell Reid, Aparna Nancherla, Emily Maya Mills, Doug “DJ Dougpound” Lussenhop, Johnny Pemberton, Brody Stevens and The Grawlix boys. Great. Great!

OK, so…

5. I’m Telling You for the Last Time – Jerry Seinfeld

I’m not sure if this technically counts as an album, since it was an HBO special that was released on iTunes, but Jerry Seinfeld is the master of word economy. I heard shim say in an interview that he’ll spend all day trying to turn 8 words in to 5. Seinfeld knows better than anyone that the quicker you get to the funny part, the better. This is the special where he retired the act that made him famous before starting over from scratch and as such, Telling You, is chock full of the Seinfeld classics. Cab Drivers – “Yes officer, his name was Amal and then the symbol for boron.”

4. A Place for My Stuff – George Carlin

I love George Carlin so it was difficult to pick a fave but A Place for My Stuff was really memorable for me. In addition to straight stand up, he also has these great sketch pieces recorded in a studio. Even at the top there’s an announcement, “This album has been made possible through grants from the following organizations…” and goes on to list hilarious/non-existent entities. After that he goes to live stand up with the opening joke, “Hey, have you noticed that you never seem to get laid much on Thanksgiving? I think it’s because all the coats are on the bed.”

3. Let’s Get Small – Steve Martin

There are only 2 things that all comedians have in common; a microphone and a stage. That’s it. Stand up comedy really just requires those 2 things. So when a guy decides to don a white suit, put an arrow through his head and play the banjo that comedy exists on a completely different stratosphere. Steve Martin played the clown prince better than anyone and Let’s Get Small is full of classic bits that I still quote all the time. “I am so mad at my mother. She’s 102 years; she called me up the other day and wanted to borrow 10 dollars for some food.” This album is also the birthplace of the national catchphrase, “Well Excuuuse Meeeee.”

2. The Buttoned Down Mind of Bob Newhart – Bob Newhart

Buttoned Down mind was released in 1960 during an era of comedy where a lot of comedians were performing the same jokes. Not writing their own jokes and then performing them night after night, literally telling the same jokes other comedians told all over the country. Bob Newhart was working as a full time accountant and Warner Brothers had to set up shows for him because he had never performed stand up at a club. 2 weeks after his first time on stage, he recorded this seminal album. It went on to knock Elvis Presley off the #1 spot on the billboard charts, is the 20th best selling album (not just comedy) of all time and is currently archived in The Library of Congress. The patient pauses, the controlled stammering and letting an audience use their imagination to fill in the picture were groundbreaking. Newhart made the crowd come to him instead of vice versa and this album has the classics, “Driving Instructor,” “Marketing the Wright Brothers,” and “Nobody Will Ever Play Baseball.”

1. Himself – Bill Cosby 

All hail the king. I really don’t know what else I can say about Cosby that hasn’t been said a million times before but there is a reason that every comedian from every walk of life name him as their favorite, myself included. I had Bill Cosby’s cassettes that I used to listen to on my yellow Sony Walkman and would be beside myself with laughter. Let’s face it; we all know Junior Barnes is a gunky. But with “Himself”, it was the first time I ever saw Cosby performing the things he was saying and it made me enjoy it even more. Sitting in a chair. A chair. Owning it. This album is also a very clear template for The Cosby Show. “The reason we have 5 children is because we do not want 6.” I mean come on. Also, a lot of people don’t know this but Cosby and his wife produced everything (Jemmin Inc.) so he always maintained the rights to all of his material. Even on the business side of show business he was years ahead of his time. If you’d like to see how comedians regard Cosby, watch him spending time with Jerry Seinfeld in the documentary Comedian. That pretty much sums it up. I had the privilege of seeing Bill Cosby perform live about 6 months ago. He did almost two hours. He still sat in a chair. He still owned it. “Dad is great. He gave us chocolate cake.”

REVIEW: Ron White “A Little Unprofessional”

A Little Unprofessional DVD cover photo

Ron “Tater Salad” White is back with a brand new special, and fans of the venerable, cigar and scotch soaked Southerner will not be disappointed. For almost ninety minutes, Tater Salad riffs on food, pop culture, Vegas, sex, Dr. Phil, and sex again in his signature blue collar drawl. Seriously, for a man that became famous touring on the family friendly Blue Collar comedy this special is hilariously filthy. While I would say, “A Little Unprofessional” isn’t going to bring any new Tater Salad fans to the table, it’s definitely a funny addition to his catalog. But also what do I know? “A Little Unprofessional” is nominated for a Grammy for Best Comedy Album, Tater Salad’s third nomination.

Nathan Anderson Interview

In 2012, comedian Nathan Anderson had an idea. Standup memes were floating around the Internet, but without structure. With the popularity of the website reddit skyrocketing, Anderson decided to create a centralized location for undiscovered comics to post material. People could get a quick laugh, and unknown comics could get exposure.

/r/standupshots, a subset of reddit, was a success. Comics saw their jokes going viral; some were reposted by George Takei on Facebook (5,000,000+ followers and growing), and some (like yours truly, a big fan of the outlet) had some jokes go viral, and others make it to The Huffington Post.

Unfortunately, Anderson wasn’t happy.

Using the meme format he championed with his creation, Anderson delivered a scathing review of the very site hosting his handiwork, seen here.

With that post, something interesting happened: his post made it’s way to the front page of reddit, garnered tons of exposure, and /r/standupshots exploded in numbers, currently topping 100,000 subscribers.

Rooftop used same-named comedian Nathan Timmel to discuss all things meme with Nathan Anderson.

NT: When you left, it didn’t look like burning a bridge, it looked like a demolition. How long at the idea of walking away from your creation been growing in you?

NA: I always knew I wanted to get away from it somehow. It was never something I really cared about; just something I set up because I was the one who knew how. Regardless of the subreddit, mods burn out eventually. Doing it well turns reddit into a full-time job for no money, subject to constant criticism. It was cutting into my real passion – telling dick jokes to drunk bachelorette parties.

NT: /r/standupshots popularity and visibility really increased because of your post. Do you feel this is a situation that went from negative turned positive, or do you believe the same problems exist that made you leave?

NA: I knew it would get some visibility, and in the short term it was definitely positive. But reddit has a short attention span, and the larger problems with the site remain publicly unaddressed. If those don’t change, reddit won’t die and may even grow slowly. But in terms of cultural relevance, it’ll turn into another early-decade web fad like somethingawful or 4chan.

NT: Any thoughts of returning?

NA: Only as a lurker, and only to look up specific information. Reddit is a huge site, so the fact that /r/funny sucks doesn’t mean /r/malefashionadvice or /r/fitness can’t be useful. It’s my go-to site for information on shoes.

NT: What sort of feedback have you received?

NA: Comics understand and supports me, even if they don’t post to the site. Those are the people I care about. There’s a few career moderators on reddit who are pissed at me, but they’re dicks so fuck ‘em.

NT: You were worried that fewer submitters would kill the site, but with your post there are more submitters and subscribers than ever; how do you feel about that?

NA: I’m glad it worked out. It’ll be fine as long as it keeps expanding, but it’s like a shark. If it doesn’t constantly pull in more people, they’ll move on to something else.

NT: Steve Hofstetter described the group as “An open microphone with 100,000 people in the audience.” Even without posts making it to the front page, do you think there could have been value in comics posting for other comics; a place for peer feedback on jokes?

NA: It definitely has value for that, and long as comics are willing to sort the useful comments from the typical reddit jackassery. I just hope comics realize that a joke that does well on standupshots still has to do well onstage. The karma is nice, but it doesn’t mean anything if no one laughs in real life.

NT: You understood the power of the meme, and joked it was the future of comedy; do you feel it is the present of comedy now?

NA: It depends on when and where you are. If you’re a broke college kid, or living in a town without access to stagetime, it’s more useful than doing nothing. But I always felt the final goal was getting people to watch videos, or come to real shows. For comics, internet pictures shouldn’t be an end in themselves.